To cheat or not to cheat… on your kids

Eat more veggies.

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Smiling veggies

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I haven’t been a fan of sneaking food into kids.  But.

New studies point more to clearly to the importance of healthfulness in kids’ early diets in predicting long-term health “What your child eats now will make an enormous difference to his adult health….Produce may ward off asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, metabolic syndrome, artery-clogging plaque” and more (Parents, June 2015, p. 66).

When my micropreemie was two and still underweight, my mom put a cotton ball on the ceiling fan and hit the switch.  Yes, one could see it as an early introduction to mindless eating, sneaking it in while he laughed hysterically.

vintage botanical print of spinach

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When he was about 5, I bought a cookbook of recipes for foods that had healthy ingredients secreted inside them.  Unnoticeable.  Don’t ask, don’t tell — toddler style.

Does that strategy “teach” kids to like or tolerate, say spinach?  A nursing student mom I know says yes, some other moms say no.  I opted for a little sneaking in while I worked on educating their palates.

But what if — what if we re-thought brownies let’s say.  What if brownies could just BE a dessert that had a healthy dose of spinach?  What if “spinach” came to be associated with spinach pie, greek pizza, salad with bacon, AND chocolate spinach cake, aka brownies?

What if we eliminate the stigma on healthy foods?  What if we just stop sneaking, but don’t stop making those same recipes? This is my goal.

Our chocolate chip cookies have mashed beans in them, and Thing 2 just doesn’t care any more.  “They taste good, that’s all I need” he says.  A few of my best dessert recipes are available on my Free Resources page… then head on over to Facebook and tell me how they turned out for you!

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6 thoughts on “To cheat or not to cheat… on your kids

  1. Growing up, I had friends who were picky eaters. My mom wasn’t keen when they’d come to my house (Hello drama!) and I didn’t really like eating at theirs (if you eat all your PJ7B you can have FIVE chips). Their mom was always about the “health food” – which to me was just… food. I was equally as content with a carrot as a gummy worm.

    So yes, if your brownies have spinach in them, then maybe the kids will just grow up thinking that ALL brownies are made with spinach. (In a this is normal way, like how you fold the towels, is how EVERYBODY folds towels!)

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    • zoinks, from your great comment, I see how my strategy might backfire, though. If they don’t realize that brownies are not really healthy…. so in fact, everyone does not put spinach in…. okay, got to think about that, Kim. THANK YOU for your comments, this one in particular is quite thought-provoking! xx Angela

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  2. This is exactly what we do in our house as well. And your one nurse friend is right: the science shows that the more diverse foods a child eats unconsciously – regardless of how or where (even in utero) – the more apt they will be to eat those same foods consciously as well. So yes, mix in as much of the good healthy stuff into your cookies, smoothies, cakes and casseroles as you can!

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    • Aha, glad to hear about the science…. I did just buy some spinach, and all those brownies are convincing my pickiest…. I think. 🙂 Thanks for chiming in, Joseph, and cheering this project on! xx Angela

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  3. I love this! Thanks for the kick in the pants. I was not raised on food like this so it represents a huge challenge for me. I love the recipes on your resource page, especially Grammy Todd’s Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe. I will have to give that a try. Thank you for sharing this important reminder!

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    • Donna Maria, I’m thrilled to have been helpful, and you won’t be surprised that I’m also happy to have my late great Grammy Todd helping me in my task! Thank you for reading and exploring, and sneak sneak sneak away. xx Angela

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